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Peterborough & the Kawarthas Entrepreneurs Awarded Grants and Mentorships to Help Spark New Tourism Ideas

By Christine Drage
Spark Mentorship and Grant Program winners and judges

[PETERBOROUGH, ON]: Three finalists who made winning pitches for the second intake of the Peterborough & the Kawarthas “Spark” Program were each awarded a $3,000 seed grant and mentorship to help them get started with their new tourism ideas.

The Peterborough & the Kawarthas “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program is a collaborative partnership initiative between the Tourism Innovation Lab and Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism, with funding support from the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario.

The program’s goal is to find, foster and support new tourism ideas, experiences, and partnerships that will enhance current offerings, address gaps or challenges, motivate travel and longer stays, and increase year-round visits in the region.

Ten applications were received, with the top five being invited to present their new tourism ideas at a virtual Pitch Session held on May 2nd. A panel of judges comprised of local partner representatives and a tourism innovator from outside the region selected the three winning applicants.

The 2023 Peterborough & the Kawarthas “Spark” Program winners are:

  • Connor McIlveen & Glyne Pease, Shamrock Acres (Rustic farm venue/event space)
  • Katie Jackson, Wanderlight Alpaca Experience (Mystery agritourism and culinary experience)
  • Scott Williams, Wildflower Bakery (Sourdough bread-making workshops)

In addition to seed funds, mentorship, and additional partner support, selected applicants gain access to a network of tourism innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders across the province.

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“It’s a privilege to work with these local tourism innovators. Our team looks forward to supporting the development of tourism products that give visitors new and engaging ways to explore Peterborough & the Kawarthas,” said Joe Rees, Director of Tourism with Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development.

“We congratulate the second-round winners of the Peterborough & the Kawarthas “Spark” Program and are excited to work with them to help develop new and exciting tourism offerings in the region,” said Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead for the Tourism Innovation Lab.